Gender stereotypes are great for stirring the pot, and this opportunity is too good to pass up. It seems a large proportion of women on Facebook report finding many of their online friends (or perhaps that should be "friends") annoying, according to a survey of 400 women by daily deals site Eversave. Gawker.com notes that the Eversave survey was originally intended to help understand the market dynamics of daily deals on social networks -- but the stuff they found about women secretly hating their Facebook friends was too hilarious not to publish.
Okay, time for a full retraction of my earlier off-the-cuff opinion that professional video did a better job documenting the Japanese tsunami than amateur, user-generated content. Because this video
pretty much seals the deal. I won't spend too much time describing this amateur footage of the tsunami hitting the small port town of Kesennuma: suffice it to say, it is simple, incredible and awful, and must be seen to be believed. But I would like to make a couple observations about why it is superior to most other footage I have seen, and also why I think that matters.
Two of the most successful businessmen and investors alive today have warned against what they say is a growing bubble in the value of social media companies over the last couple weeks. But both Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and Barry Diller, founder and chairman of IAC, also conceded that there will still be long-term winners along with all the losers, affirming the real value underlying social media as a revolutionary new communications technology. However there's still going to be a lot of carnage.
Despite the Chinese government's squashing of planned protests over the last couple months, demand for free speech is clearly simmering not far beneath the surface of Chinese society -- and social media is clearly central to this trend, judging by the results of a recent poll cited by The Economist. According to The Economist, when ordinary Chinese folk were asked what they considered the key elements of happiness, 11% of respondents included the ability to express their feelings online. Presuming the figure's accurate, that works out to about 150 million Chinese who find happiness in self-expression on the Internet.
I think it's safe to say health is one of our big national obsessions, if not the biggest, and it's also an obvious area of interest for social media: patients can share information, advice, and moral support with each other, doctors are curious about how to use social media to share information with patients and network professionally, and insurance companies are turning to social media for marketing and customer service.
Social media just seems to lend itself especially well to certain sub-cultures, and sports fandom is one of these sweet spots: there is a lot of text, photos, and video to share, comment on, and argue about; there's the shared TV viewing experience; and then of course the actual communal event of gathering with thousands of other fans in a stadium.
Huh? The New York Times is clearly struggling with the whole social media angle of its new online pay-wall -- or rather, trying to have its online cake and eat it too. On one hand, the NYT wants heavy users to pay for access to online content, shelling out $15 per month for continued access after reading the maximum allowed 20 articles for free; the pay wall is supposed to take effect on March 28 (it's already up in Canada).
Twitter appears to have settled on an ad-supported business model, and it wants your advertising dollars: according to the New York Observer the micro-blogging service is moving into new offices at 340 Madison Avenue (previously inhabited by Facebook, which has since relocated to 335 Madison Avenue). From here Twitter sales staff will surely extend offers of lunches, drinks, pony rides, and other micro-junkets to anyone who happens to control millions of advertising dollars in a half-mile radius. But just remember pony rides can be a two-way street: they will probably be picking advertisers' and media planners' brains for ideas to …
After a thoroughly depressing week, I thought Friday might be the right time for freaks -- to lighten the mood, startle some prudes, and generally make things a little less bleak. Ripley's Believe It or Not! -- that venerable purveyor of weird, unsettling facts -- is hosting an online contest seeking the freakiest person in America to serve as an attraction at the company's Times Square venue, where they will be on display at the Odditorium. Contestants just have to submit a video to Ripley's Web site, where viewers will vote on them; the videos are simultaneously hosted (and open …
No, this is not a joke. Roughly 80% of children five and under use the Internet at least once a week in the U.S., according to an analysis of seven studies by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and the Sesame Workshop, titled "Always Connected
." But don't worry: kids are still watching way more TV.